Last Christmas at St Mary's Church for vicar before Canadian adventure

This Christmas will be Philip Cochrane's last as vicar at St Mary's Church in Banbury.
St Mary's Church vicar Philip CochraneSt Mary's Church vicar Philip Cochrane
St Mary's Church vicar Philip Cochrane

He is leaving in February to become rector at a church in Vancouver, Canada, after nearly three years in Banbury.

"Leaving St Mary's and Banbury will be a big wrench - my time here has been productive and we have achieved a lot in a short period of time," he said.

"I am very grateful to the Bishop of Dorchester, the Diocese of Oxford and many others in Banbury who have been supportive of me.

"That said, I have had to reflect on my personal needs and addressing them.

"It is a bit of a gamble, but I clearly feel God is directing this move and I hope that in Vancouver, I will have the chance to flourish."

The church thanked him for all he has done since being appointed vicar in May, 2016, with a replacement hoped to be in place by the autumn.

The church wrote on Facebook: "We’ll continue to build on the work developed by Philip and the team - growing numerically and spiritually, and trying to become more Christ-like for the sake of Banbury and the world.

"There’ll be lots of time to say our goodbyes, but for now we send Philip our heartfelt thanks for all that he’s brought to St Mary’s and to Banbury, and wish him the very best for the next adventure!"